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Fossils are clues to ancient Canada seas

WINNEPEG, Manitoba, July 19 (UPI) -- Fossils of prehistoric sea creatures unearthed in Manitoba give clues to what Western Canada was like when dinosaurs lived, researchers said.

Scientists from the Canadian Fossil Discovery Center have dug up two mosasaurs -- a huge predatory reptile known as the "T. Rex of the sea" -- in the province at a dig site that also yielded a prehistoric squid and bird skeletons, as well as two other as yet unidentified fossils, the Waterloo Region Record in Ontario reported.

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The discovery of the shore bird fossils may suggest there was a lot more available land 80 million years ago when much of the Canada's prairies were under salt water, researcher said.

"It was not just this big, wide, open sea," fossil curator Anita Janzic said. "It's giving us some new insight into what the seaway was like. That is changing how we are looking at the seaway and that, to me, makes this site very interesting."

Some of the country's richest deposits of marine dinosaurs are found in the sand-like soil of Morden, about 60 miles southwest of Winnipeg, despite the site being about as far from the ocean as you can get in Canada, researchers said.

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Mosasaurs were huge oxygen-breathing lizards, as long as 50 feet, that moved though the water by swinging their tail from side to side.

"They were definitely on top of the food chain," Janzic said. "They even preyed upon other mosasaurs."

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